Metro to Cyclists: How Can We Make the Bus-Bike Relationship Better?

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This Picture Isn’t from LA County, It’s from Our Sister City, Vancouver

In response to some high-profile incidents between cyclists and buses in recent months, Metro has put together a task force to work on improving the relationship between the two road users.  Because Metro is putting forward a good faith effort to make the streets more safe for cyclists, I thought we could help them out by making a comprehensive list of cyclists concerns with buses and bus drivers, and what can be done to make the situation better.  Folks, the comments section is open.

There has been some progress at the first two task force meetings.  Yesterday, Metro staff agreed to revisit their rules about bus drivers using their horn.  First, bus drivers are instructed to use their horn to alert cyclists to their presence as they approach.  However, there was unanimity amongst cyclists that there are few things more distracting and scarier to a cyclist than a bus blaring its horn as it comes up behind you or passes you.  Talk about ‘lost in translation;’ drivers are trying to say "Hello!  Cyclist I am nearing you!" the cyclists hear, "Get off the road" or "Danger! Danger! Danger!"

Another issue addressed was rules regarding bikes on buses during off-peak hours.  Cyclists are routinely told they cannot bring their bike onto a bus at night even if the bus is nearly empty but the bike racks are full.  Actually, it’s at the driver’s discretion whether or not to allow a bike to come inside the bus.  Unfortunately, because Los Angeles isn’t used to the amount of people on bikes that some drivers may not be up to date on all of the rules.  Also, the way Metro counts "accidents" on a driver’s record, there is actually a disincentive to allow a bike to join it’s rider in the passenger area.

So, now it’s your turn…what are your experiences on the road, and what can be done to make it a more safe and better one?

Photo: SillyGwailo/Flickr

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